GOAT Talk: The Rise of the (Possible) NHL GOAT

By Ryan Brush

In every sport or competition, there is always the resounding question: who is the GOAT, or the greatest of all time? Most times, there isn’t a clear answer to this question, and debate could rage on for hours between different sides of the argument. Additionally, in many sports, that person or player has already retired and is no longer a part of the sport or is nearing the end of their career. However, the NHL has something special, because there is a superstar that can now be entered into this GOAT Talk, and that is Connor McDavid

McDavid had been highly scouted and recognized from a young age for his generational hockey talent, and as he grew older and prepared for the 2015 NHL Draft, the only like comparison to him was another sensational talent in Sidney Crosby, who was similarly unanimously taken first overall in the 2005 NHL Draft. And, much like Crosby, he has lived up to the hype – in fact, he has BECOME the hype.

In only his first season, McDavid averaged a point per game, and in his second season, he put up what would be his first 100 point season of many. Fast forward to the 2020-21 NHL season that consisted of only 56 games, and he came just shy seven points shy of averaging two points per game with 105. That feat of a two PPG average has only been achieved by two players in the history of the NHL: Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, which is some pleasant company to be a part of. 

Watching Connor McDavid play hockey is mesmerizing, to say the least. Even people who have no interest in hockey or how the game works will stop and watch McDavid fly across the screen and say, “Wow, who is that?” He is so recognizable on the ice that it is quite easy to spot him dancing around opposing players as if they are not even trying to stop him; he is simply that good at the game of hockey.

However, many hockey fans and sports fans alike regard Wayne Gretzky as the GOAT of hockey, and for good reason: he has the most points in NHL history with a margin of 900 points between him and Jaromír Jágr, and everyone else on the top five list has played at least 250 more games than him. Some of these fans with Gretzky as their GOAT cite recency bias with Connor McDavid, as he is still playing and we are able to witness his greatness in real time versus old highlights on YouTube, and this will always be a topic of discussion until Connor McDavid retires from hockey and beyond. Time will only tell as McDavid seemingly continues to develop as a hockey player and get better and better, if that is even possible, but one thing will always be for sure: Connor McDavid is a generational hockey player, and is a sight to see for anyone who lays their eyes on the sport of hockey.

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